- Connect with their class. Make it your mission to ensure they go to school with a buddy already in hand. If your school doesn’t arrange a pre-school-year meet and greet, see if you can connect with other parents at any registration or orientation events, and plan informal playground playdates or a summer get-together so your kiddo can get to know a few of her future classmates. (You’ll have a head start toward finding some mom friends, too.)
- Let them bling out their gear. Cool new supplies are always part of the first-day-of-school excitement. Consider letting your kids splurge on a few fab supplies—fun shaped erasers in lieu of the standard pink, or a few funky pencils mixed in with their yellow No. 2s. Or hand them markers and crayons or stickers and let them decorate their new folders, backpacks, and notebooks to suit their style.
- Give them a few goodies. The Germans have a cool custom of sending their kids off to school with a Schultüte, a generously sized and elaborately decorated cone filled with new school gear and a few special treats. Consider making your own with a piece of colorful poster board, and stock it with healthy treats and school essentials.
- Have fun with their lunches. A brown-bagged sandwich is just fine, but why not mix it up? Make a main course of veggies, whole grain pita chips and hummus, or a kebab loaded with cheese and fruit. Consider a fresh take on the sandwich, too—you can cut it into fun shapes with a cookie cutter, or roll your sandwich fixings into a tortilla for a pinwheel sandwich. If your kid’s not much of a lunch eater, send breakfast for lunch—pack a whole-grain waffle, applesauce for dipping, and a bottle of Mott’s Fruit Punch Rush. (Mott’s participates in the Box Tops for Education program, so you can clip the box tops and send them into your child’s elementary school to help them earn $0.10 toward school supplies, field trips, and more.)
- Create a cool school nook. Make homework less of a chore by customizing a spot where your child can curl up with her books. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated desk—a comfy chair and a lap desk with a drawer for pencils and erasers are all you need!
- Plan something memorable for the first day of school. Ring in the new school year with plenty of fanfare. Start the day off right with their favorite breakfast treat and a few balloons, or host an after school ice-pop party with a few of your kids’ classmates. It’ll be a wonderful tradition—and a lovely way to make the sting of a new school year a little easier to bear.
image: Getty/Stephen Simpson